Life in 1997 was pretty sound on the whole, the thoroughly marvellous Konnie Huq had just started on Blue Peter (she’d continue for 11 years, although somewhat pointlessly for the last few as it’s quite hard to justify Sky+’ing Blue Peter as a 29 year old), although a New Labour coup had just installed Tony Bliar as Divine Leader it prompted one of my favourite childhood memories(clearly back then I was an ‘adult’, but with the benefit of hindsight and specifically the benefit of seeing 18 year olds balloon around the pub I can confirm they are most definitely ‘children’) of the Bliarists dad dancing to Dr Cox’s “Things Can Only Get Better” and Mama Box leaning forward, turning off the TV and muttering with a shrug “Well that’s us shitted, might as well have a coffee while we’re still allowed”, The Spice Girls launched Channel 5 and Ginger wore most of a marvellously patriotic dress to the Brits, King Kev had the “I’d love it if we beat them” meltdown and I went off to do colouring in at college.
Imagine then if you will, my shock when I found myself flicking through an old college studio notebook to discover a list entitled “Things That Are Shit”, was life not as carefree and delicious as I remember? A troubling discovery, but one which will provide historians and social commentators with an invaluable and personal insight in to a lost generation and the daily trials, worries and stresses of 20th century youth. This document will surely be whipped away by the British Museum soon, so before then I want to share it with you.
Things That Are Shit
By MB, aged 18 1/2
Walking home from somewhere and a lollipop lady stops the traffic so you can cross, even though you’re 18… is shit.
When something costs 1p less than a fiver and you walk away leaving the penny with the cashier only to be shouted back as you’re leaving “You forgot your penny change”… is shit.
Falling over in front of fit birds… is shit.
Walking around naked and scolding your willy on a hot iron… is shit.
Old women who don’t shave… are shit.
Catching your dick in your fly… is shit.
Frozen pizza… is shit.
Finding Jesus… is shit.
Sitting on a still warm toilet seat… is shit.
Songs Of Praise… is shit.
Having no inner monologue around idiots… is shit.
Dung… is shit
Not being able to stop commentating on your movements when drunk… is shit.
Being reminded of the chat up line you tried in The Griffin on Friday… is shit.
Getting your bike wheel caught in a grid… is shit.*
Market research women with beards… are shit.
So there it is, no mention of “Journalists who refer to any semi promising footballer from a faraway land as ‘the Turkmenistani Messi’…are shit” or “People that say ‘They say’ as the beginning of a comment or [traditionally] flawed advice to try and sound learned and/or pass any future blame…are shit”, but on the whole it’s fairly timeless stuff.
There are one or two question marks which have arisen with the benefit of 15 years of hindsight, chiefly as I don’t remember(and I’m fairly sure I’d remember) burning Little MB on an iron it suggests this is either a truly bizarre teenage fear I had or it is based on a chum’s experience. Furthermore if I did burn the little gentleman on an iron I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t announce it to my contemporaries so which of them told me? Still, these are the sort of details the historians will no doubt be arguing over for years to come. Also, the level of potty mouthery used is, nowadays, resigned for conversations with grown ups(ie Over 40’s)(in 6 years and 2 months, this will be amended to ‘Over 50’s) when I develop some form of bizarre Tourette’s type syndrome where I make references to topics I have previously never discussed or thought about before in my life. Notably, and relatively recently when I decided, or rather my ‘illness’ decided, at a pleasant afternoon gathering that “Motorboating**” was a perfectly logical topic of conversation to strike up with The Bar Manager’s parents.
Suffice to say – “Trying to explain ‘Why’ someone would want to ‘Motorboat’, particularly when you have absolutely no idea or desire to do so yourself… is shit.’